Lawmakers angry over jobless benefits aim at labor chief

Georgia News

Arnashia McCain uses her phone to copy phone numbers posted on the locked doors of a Georgia Department of Labor office Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Norcross Ga. McCain, who said she drives for Lyft and has had her hours cut in her job in retail, has been unable check on the status of her her unemployment claim. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia lawmakers could temporarily strip the state’s elected labor commissioner of much of his authority.

FILE – In this Oct. 17, 2010, file photo, Georgia Labor Commissioner Republican candidate Mark Butler smikles during a televised debate in Atlanta. Georgia could allow unemployed people to earn up to $300 a week while keeping their full unemployment benefits and pay up to 26 weeks of benefits under a bill that has passed the General Assembly. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks, File)

They say Republican Mark Butler has done too little to address a backlog of unemployment claims.

Lawmakers have been inundated by complaints from constituents who say they’ve been wrongly denied jobless benefits.

The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee voted Wednesday to pass Senate Bill 156, sending it on the full Senate for more debate.

The bill would create a chief labor officer who would be appointed by the governor.

The chief labor officer would serve until 2023 and be charged with improving “the reliability and timeliness” of unemployment benefits.

The labor officer would also provide financial reports to the state’s Audit Department.

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